I tried to do something different with chocolate today. Since I have very few chocolate bars to taste for this two-week period in my no-sugar, 90% to 100% dark chocolate plan, I thought I would try something new.
I ground up and brewed cocoa beans as if they were coffee beans!
In case you are confused, a cup of hot chocolate would actually have the cocoa powder in your cup, whereas brewed cocoa beans would just mean that the water would pass through finely ground cocoa beans, but no actual cocoa powder or grounds would be in your beverage.
I have always wondered about trying this and if anyone else is selling cups of hot brewed cocoa in cafes or chocolate shops across North America (or elsewhere). Then I saw a a Google advertisement about Crio Brü (http://www.criobru.com/crio-bru/) which is a line of cocoa bean products that are roasted, ground and packaged for drinking and brewing just like coffee.
The shelling was a messy process. It was difficult to crack the shells with my hands, so I gave in and started cracking them with my teeth (I would not do this if I was preparing it for other people, but since it was just for me, I was not worried about my own slobber infiltrating my brewed cocoa!). Since the bean turns to nibs when roasted, they almost always come crumbling out in bits with the shells mixed in. Which meant that shelling the beans took a really long time and I was beginning to see the benefit of waiting for a shipment of Crio Brü and having someone else do this hard part for me!
To make the brewed cocoa drink, I did as Crio Brü recommended, and measured out two tablespoons for one "coffee" cup measure (which is 3/4 of a cup or about 6 oz) of hot water. I boiled the water, then poured it in and let sit in the Bodum with each set of cocoa bean grounds for five minutes. The coarser one was very watery, whereas the well ground one was a little darker but definitely not as dark as brewed coffee. In fact, it just had a watery hot chocolate look to it.
I tried them both "black" with no cream, and I tried them with some half & half cream. I liked it much better with the cream, but really drinking it just reminded me of drinking a very weak coffee, or a hot chocolate made with water instead of milk.
I also added a 1/4 tsp of sugar to the stronger one and found that it suddenly tasted much better (um, of course, everything tastes better sweetened). Since I do not drink my coffee with sugar, I am not sure this would be the best option for me if I converted to brewed cocoa every day.
I would like to try a few of Crio Brü's products because they sell pre-ground (I think) single-origin beans. And not only that, they sell Criollo cacao beans (the best kind of bean) from a few different cocoa growing regions in the world. Wouldn't it be fun to line them up and taste the differences just like a proper chocolate, wine or coffee tasting? I am sure it would be a good experience, and certainly better tasting than brewing up some old cocoa beans that I found in the back of my cupboard!
Well, it is nearing the end of my first week of +90% dark chocolate tasting. I will write a post in the next few days about the chocolate bars that I have been tasting this week and my experience going "unsweetened" for the month of January, so stay tuned!
In keeping with the format of my other posts, below are the package details from the cocoa beans that I tasted today:
CACAO POWER, Mayan Superfood, "Raw Chocolate Beans" 16 oz bag (454g)
NAVITAS NATURALS, Novato, CA (USA)
Product of Peru, Packed in the USA
Ingredients: Organic Raw Cacao Beans